Williams, at the last Welsh races, convinced the whole principality (by reading a letter that affirmed it), that the King was not within two miles of the battle of Dettingen. We are not good at hitting off anti-miracles, the only way of defending one's own religion. I have read an admirable story of the Duke of Buckingham2, who, when James II sent a priest to him to persuade him to turn Papist, and was plied by him with miracles, told the doctor, that if miracles were proofs of a religion, the Protestant cause was as well supplied as theirs. We have lately had a very extraordinary one near my estate in the country. A very holy man, as you might be, Doctor, was travelling on foot, and was benighted. He came to the cottage of a poor dowager, who had nothing in the house for herself and daughter but a couple of eggs and a slice of bacon. However, as she was a pious widow, she made the good man welcome. In the morning, at taking leave, the saint made her over to God for payment, and prayed that whatever she should do as soon as he was gone she might continue to do all day. This was a very unlimited request, and, unless the saint was a prophet too, might not have been very pleasant retribution. . . .3 The good woman, who minded her affairs, and was not to be put out of her way, went about her business. She had a piece of coarse cloth to make a couple of shifts for herself and child. She no sooner began to measure it but the yard fell a-measuring, and there was no stopping it. It was sunset before the good woman had time to take breath. She was almost stifled, for she was up to her ears in ten thousand yards of cloth. She could have afforded to have sold Lady Mary Wortley a clean shift, of the usual coarseness she wears, for a groat halfpenny. . , .*
I wish you would tell the Princess this story. Madame
. 2 George Villiers (1628-1687), second Duke of Buckingham. 3 Passage omitted. * Passage omitted.